Astralis — Bienvenida al interior
(Mylodon MyloCD046, 2006, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2008-01-01Astralis are part of the explosion of new prog rock bands emerging from Latin and South America, Chile to be more specific. The band was formed around guitarist and singer Patricio Vera in 1999 and it's taken them quite a while to get a debut album put together (though another one is already on the way). The group has many of the characteristics of Latino prog within their music: passionate vocals, stirring symphonic arrangements, soaring guitar and a preference for straight-ahead compositions and uncluttered instrumental arrangements. In short, neo prog sung in Spanish. To my ear, Astralis sound like Cast of about 10 years ago. This isn't a bad thing, though the group needs to update their sound and approach moving forward or they'll have a hard time keeping an audience interested. As musicians this is a talented group (besides Vera, Astralis features Sergio Heredia on drums, Mauricio Arcis on bass and Juan Pablo Gaete on keys), even if nobody is blazing any trails on their instrument. The main Achilles heel is Vera's singing, which is mediocre at best. The strength of the album is the six songs themselves, all generally upbeat and energetic. They're the kind of thing that could improve in a live setting where the indifferent studio production rendered here won't be a factor. Fans of early Marillion, Saga, IQ and the aforementioned Cast will probably find something here to their liking. As for me I'll be interested to see where they go from here.
Related artist(s): Astralis
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more